ROTHERHAM Minster has been named as one of three new “hubs” aimed at helping churches extend their appeal and reach.
The Diocese of Sheffield picked the historic town centre church, along with Goole’s St John the Evangelist Church and a partnership of churches in the Dearne Valley centred on Wath to lead its new Resourcing Churches campaign, which is being bankrolled by a £3.5 million influx from the Church of England.
The diocese defined a “resourcing church” is “a church which intentionally resources mission across an area by planting and revitalising other churches, developing leaders and providing other resources for mission”.
The hubs’ overall aim will be “to help evangelise a place and transform society”.
The diocese said in a statement: “This means generously giving away people and money to reach out and rejuvenate other churches and communities.
“It is not necessarily a big church or a rich church; it can be based anywhere and across the traditions.
“The Diocesan Strategy anticipates that such churches will be found across the full geographical and theological spread of the diocese.”
The funding will be used to create multi-disciplinary, missional teams at Rotherham Minster Goole and Wath, with talks under way about choosing other bases.
The diocese said it hoped over the next six years to create 23 new congregations and 36 new missional activities, attract 1,000 new regular adult attenders and have 1,000 young people regularly taking part in church activities, as well as raising more than £268,697 in extra church funds.
Alex Shilkoff, programme manager, called the new campaign “an exciting opportunity to re-imagine and create styles of church that reach all people in our communities throughout the week”, adding: “Church doesn’t just have to just be on Sunday or only in a Church building.”
Bishop of Sheffield, Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox, said: “The choice of Rotherham, Goole and Wath demonstrates our commitment to secure our witness to the gospel across the length and breadth of our diocese.
“Given the present political and economic situation, our contribution to the life of local communities throughout South Yorkshire and the East Riding is likely to be all the more necessary and valuable in the next five years.”
The diocese itself will contribute £2 million to the programme, with £3.5 million of strategic development funding coming from the Church of England’s church commissioners, which supports “major change projects”.